SEC Wins Judgment Against Georgia Individual Who Defrauded Investors in Real Estate Investment Scams

Litigation Release No. 25300 / January 6, 2022

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Russell Craig and OneStep Financial Services, LLC, No. 1:18-cv-04539 (N.D. Ga. filed September 28, 2018)

On November 8, 2021, a federal court entered a final judgment against Russell Craig of Union City, Georgia, and his company, OneStep Financial Services, LLC, for orchestrating real estate investment schemes that defrauded investors out of over $1.3 million.

According to the SEC's complaint filed on September 28, 2018, from 2014 through 2017, Craig convinced at least six investors to invest over $1.3 million in two separate real estate investment schemes by promising high returns and misrepresenting that investor funds would be used for real estate investment projects or, for one investor, that funds would remain in escrow and used only to obtain a "proof of funds" to purchase a condominium property. Despite these promises, Craig almost immediately misappropriated investor funds, including by transferring funds to bank accounts that Craig controlled.

The SEC's complaint charged Craig and OneStep with violations of the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Judge Leigh Martin May for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia entered final judgment against Craig and OneStep, enjoining Craig and OneStep from future violations of the federal securities laws, ordering Craig to pay a civil penalty of $390,094, and ordering Craig and OneStep to pay, jointly and severally, a total of $545,991 in disgorgement plus $85,184 in prejudgment interest.

The SEC is represented by Melissa Armstrong and M. Graham Loomis.